Will ulcers heal on their own?

Though ulcers can sometimes heal on their own, you shouldn't ignore the warning signs. Without the right treatment, ulcers can lead to serious health problems, including:

  • Bleeding.
  • Perforation (a hole through the wall of the stomach).
  • Gastric outlet obstruction (from swelling or scarring) that blocks the passageway from the stomach to the small intestine.

What ulcer treatments are available?

If your ulcer is bleeding, your doctor may treat it during an endoscopy procedure by injecting medications into it. Your doctor could also use a clamp or cauterization (burning tissue) to seal it off and stop the bleeding.

For most people, doctors treat ulcers with medications, including:

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPI): These drugs reduce acid, which allows the ulcer to heal. PPIs include Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Aciphex®, Protonix® and Nexium®.
  • Histamine receptor blockers (H2 blockers): These drugs also reduce acid production and include Tagamet®, Pepcid®, Zantac® and Axid®.
  • Antibiotics: These medications kill bacteria. Doctors use them to treat H. pylori.
  • Protective medications: Like a liquid bandage, these medications cover the ulcer in a protective layer to prevent further damage from digestive acids and enzymes. Doctors commonly recommend Carafate® or Pepto-Bismol®.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy